9 Things to Consider Before Moving from South Africa to the UK

9 Things to Consider Before Moving from South Africa to the UK
9 Things to Consider Before Moving from South Africa to the UK. Image source: Pexels

Moving country is a huge decision to make, so it’s incredibly important to be sure before making any enquiries. To help with your decision, we have put together an article with nine things to consider before moving from South Africa to the UK.

Moving to a new country is sure to be a daunting process. More specifically, immigrating from South Africa to the UK is sure to not only be a culture shock, but will also require a fair bit of paperwork to get the ball rolling.

With this in mind, it is vital to seek the best immigration lawyers in London to ensure a smooth transition. It is also beneficial to first make some considerations to be certain that moving to the UK from South Africa is the right decision for you and your family.

To assist you in the best way possible, keep reading to learn the nine things you should first consider.

1. The Weather

Unless your head has been buried under a rock, you’ve probably heard or even seen in movies about the UK’s amount of rain. The UK is not as fortunate as South Africa, which incurs such glorious weather most of the time. Instead, the UK is more prone to consistently miserable weather.

In 2020, there were a total of 170.5 days in the year which saw rainfall of more than 1mm. In total, it ended up being 953mm of rain, more than double the average rainfall of South Africa.

Out of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, England is the driest of the countries. So, if avoiding the rain is what you prefer, England could be your best bet out of the four countries.

2. The Seasons

One notable difference between the two countries is the seasons. Whilst South Africa’s summer lasts from November to March, the UK sees summer from June to September. Of course, winter in the UK is also different to South Africa’s June to August winter, whilst the UK experiences winter from November to March. This is sure to be a bit of an adjustment for you.

3. The Language

The UK’s official language is English, but it is also possible to hear many other languages, including Welsh in Wales and Gaelic and Scots in Scotland. Whilst English is spoken, it is spoken in an abundance of accents with many slang words that you likely have not heard of, such as “dinner” being called “tea”.

4. Cost of Living

The cost of living in the UK is exceptionally high, particularly in current times following the COVID-19 pandemic. This is likely to be a very noticeable factor when moving to the UK.

However, the salaries in the UK are higher than in South Africa, so this may balance out nicely for you.

5. Healthcare

The UK has a free healthcare system known as the National Health Service, or better known across the UK as the NHS. The only aspect of health care that a person is required to pay for is prescriptions (at a capped price), dental work, and the opticians. All other healthcare is free, including ambulance rides, hospital stays, surgeries.

The word “free” should, of course, be taken with a pinch of salt. The NHS is funded by taxes that British citizens pay. Moving to the UK as an immigrant, you will be required to pay these taxes.

If you want to learn more about the UK’s tax funded healthcare service, see the NHS’s website for further details.

6. Safety

There is a huge difference in safety when it comes to comparing the UK to South Africa. With South Africa having high levels of crime, the UK experiences far less.

However, this does not mean that it is a crime free place. You may still experience or see crime across the UK.

7. Driving

One noticeable similarity between the two countries is that, in the UK ,they drive on the left hand side of the road. This means that the driving transition shouldn’t cause any issues for South Africans.

8. Visas

Whilst it’s important to consider the daily life in the UK in comparison to South Africa, there are also going to be many legalities to live and work in the country. This will include finding the right visa for you and your circumstances.

The UK offers many different types of visas, including ancestry visas, skilled worker visas. The GOV.UK website provides further assistance to ensure you find the visa that is right for you.

9. Schools

There are some notable differences when it comes to schooling in the UK, firstly starting with the school grades. People in the UK refer to school grades as school year; a year three student will be 7 to 8 years old. Children will start school at the age of 4 to 5, which is far younger than South Africa’s starting age of 6 to 7 years old.

The school year also runs differently from how it is back in South Africa. Children will go to school from September until July.

Immigrating from South Africa to the UK? Make These Considerations First

What we can conclude from this article is that, whilst you might have heard life in the UK is fantastic and you’ll feel safer than in South Africa, it is a huge life change to make. There are many dissimilarities that might come to shock you.

Make sure you are fully prepared before you make the dramatic move. Perhaps come over to the UK for a couple of weeks first to experience what life could be like.

Are you looking to move to the UK? Leave a comment below about how you have prepped for the big move.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained immigration professional. Be sure to consult an immigration professional if you’re seeking advice about migrating from South Africa to the UK. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.